George Gordon Byron, The Giaour

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The Giaour

is the first important poem that Byron wrote after

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

(1812) had made him famous. It began the series of four immensely popular Oriental Tales that he wrote while he was the toast of literary London from 1812 until 1816. These were four verse narratives –

The Giaour


The Bride of Abydos


The Corsair



– with exotic eastern settings and brooding, tormented heroes. They were all instant best-sellers.

Byron joked about the unpronounceability of his title – the word is pronounced with a soft “g”, and rhymes with “power”. It is an Arabic word for “infidel” and refers to the poem's hero, who is described by his enemy as “apostate from his own vile faith”. The poem tells the story of the Giaour's flight from the court of the despot

1168 words

Citation: Mole, Tom. "The Giaour". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [, accessed 12 June 2024.]

776 The Giaour 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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